Leasing vs Buying a Car in Canada - Which is Better Choice?

Leasing vs Buying a Car in Canada - Which is Better Choice?

Deciding between leasing and buying a car is a significant financial choice that can impact your budget and lifestyle. In Canada, both options offer unique benefits and considerations, tailored to different needs, preferences, and financial situations.


Leasing a car can provide the flexibility and convenience of driving a new vehicle every few years without the long-term commitment of ownership. On the other hand, buying a car offers the long-term benefit of ownership, equity building, and the absence of restrictions on customization and mileage.


This article aims to explore the nuances of leasing versus buying a car in Canada, providing a comprehensive overview to help you make an informed decision.


Feature Leasing Buying
Ownership You don't own the car; you pay to use it for a set period. You own the car outright after paying off any loans.
Upfront Costs Lower upfront costs. Usually involves a deposit. Higher upfront costs including down payment, taxes, and fees.
Monthly Payments Typically lower than loan payments. Higher, but you have equity in the vehicle.
Maintenance & Repairs Often covered or included in the lease agreement. The owner is responsible for any repairs and maintenance.
Customization Restrictions on customization. Freedom to customize the vehicle as you wish.
Mileage Limitations Mileage is limited; excess mileage incurs fees. No mileage restrictions.
End of Term You have to return the car, buy it, or lease a new one. You have full ownership so you can keep or sell.
Overall Cost Lower cost in the short-term; higher in the long-term. Higher initial cost, but potentially lower overall cost.


Leasing vs Buying a Car in Canada


What is Leasing a Car?


Leasing a car in Canada involves entering into a contract with a dealership or leasing company, allowing you to use the vehicle for a predetermined period—usually two to four years—against a set monthly payment. This option does not grant ownership of the car; instead, it offers the flexibility of driving a newer vehicle with the latest features and technology without the full commitment of purchasing.


Leases typically include limitations on mileage, usually ranging from 20,000 to 25,000 kilometers per year, and may require the lessee to cover routine maintenance and repair costs. At the end of the lease term, you have the option to return the vehicle, purchase it for a predetermined residual value, or lease another new car.


Leasing is an attractive option for those who enjoy driving a new car every few years, want lower monthly payments, and do not want to worry about selling the car later.


Also Read: Buying a Car Out of Province in Canada - A Step by Step Guide


What is Buying a Car?


Buying a car in Canada means purchasing a vehicle outright, either with cash or through financing options. When you buy a car, you gain full ownership, allowing for unlimited mileage, customization, and the absence of monthly payments once the car is paid off. The initial cost includes the purchase price plus taxes, registration, and any other fees. Financing a purchase often involves higher monthly payments compared to leasing but leads to ownership equity in the vehicle.


Buying is suitable for individuals who prefer long-term use and ownership of their vehicle, are okay with higher upfront and monthly costs, and do not mind dealing with potential depreciation and resale value issues. Once the car is paid off, the owner is free from monthly payments, although they will still be responsible for maintenance, repairs, and any other associated costs.


Leasing vs Buying a Car

When comparing leasing and buying a car, several key factors come into play, affecting one's decision based on personal preferences, financial situation, and long-term goals. Here's a detailed comparison based on different parameters:


Financial Commitment

  • Leasing: Offers lower monthly payments and a lower (or no) down payment, making it more appealing for those with a limited budget or those who prefer to keep their monthly expenses low. However, since you're essentially renting the car, these payments do not contribute towards ownership equity.
  • Buying: Involves higher monthly payments if the car is financed, along with a significant down payment. These payments contribute to building equity in the vehicle. Over the long term, owning a car can be more economically beneficial as the vehicle becomes an asset, especially after the loan is paid off.


Flexibility and Convenience

  • Leasing: Provides the flexibility to change cars every few years, allowing you to drive newer models with the latest technology and safety features. This option is convenient for those who enjoy staying up-to-date but can come with strict terms, including mileage limits and customization restrictions.
  • Buying: Offers the freedom to keep the car for as long as you want, sell it anytime, or modify it to your liking. This option suits those who prefer stability and the ability to make their car truly theirs without worrying about contract limitations.


Long-term Costs and Benefits

  • Leasing: This can be more expensive in the long run due to perpetual monthly payments. While maintenance packages can offset repair costs, the lack of ownership means you have nothing to show financially at the end of the lease term, leading to a cycle of payments if you continue to lease.
  • Buying: Provides the benefit of eventual ownership, where the vehicle can be sold or traded in the future. Despite the higher upfront and monthly costs, owning a car means that once the loan is paid off, you no longer have monthly payments, potentially offering greater financial freedom and an asset that retains some value.


Maintenance and Repairs

  • Leasing: Leases often include maintenance packages that cover routine service and repairs, reducing the lessee's responsibility for upkeep. However, lessees must still follow the maintenance schedule and may face charges for excessive wear and tear.
  • Buying: Owners are responsible for all maintenance and repairs once the warranty expires. This responsibility means higher potential costs but also the flexibility to choose service providers and parts.



Choosing between leasing and buying a car in Canada is a decision that hinges on individual financial situations, lifestyle preferences, and long-term objectives. Leasing offers lower monthly payments, the excitement of driving a new car every few years, and freedom from the hassle of selling the vehicle later, but it comes with restrictions and lacks ownership advantages. Buying a car requires a higher financial commitment upfront and each month (if financed), but it results in ownership, the ability to customize freely, and potentially lower long-term costs.


For those who prioritize flexibility and lower monthly expenses without the need for ownership, leasing is an attractive option. Conversely, buying is more suited for individuals looking for long-term financial benefits, ownership, and the freedom to customize their vehicle as they see fit. Regardless of the choice, it's crucial to consider your financial health, driving habits, and personal preferences to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and lifestyle.


If you are looking to buy a used vehicle in Ontario, you can choose Tabangi Motors, the most trusted used car dealership in Kitchener.

Categories: Buying Tips